White House Press Secretary Robert
Gibbs on Tuesday defended the Obama administration's decision to
pursue an appeal in a federal case challenging “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell,” the 17-year-old that bans gay and bisexual troops from
federal judge in September ordered the U.S. Air Force to reinstate
Major Margaret Witt, a flight nurse who was discharged in 2006 for
violating the policy.
U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton
found that the government had not proved that Witt's sexual
orientation had negatively impacted her unit's morale or cohesion as
it had asserted.
The Witt decision followed on the heels
California court's ruling that found the policy in violation of the
constitutional rights of gay troops. A decision the government
In a statement released moments after
the Witt filing, Gibbs defended the administration's actions.
“This filing in no way diminishes the
president's – and his administration's – firm commitment to
achieving a legislative repeal of DADT this year,” Gibbs wrote.
“Indeed, it clearly shows why Congress must act to end this
misguided policy. In recent weeks, the president and other
administration officials have been working with the Senate to move
forward with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act,
including repeal of DADT, during the lame duck.”
On Monday, Gibbs
joined a growing chorus of leaders warning that the failure to
legislatively repeal the law during the lame-duck session would leave
courts to decide the issue.